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Miss Helena herself took on the role of mentoring Terry as the young woman began her service in the very exclusive salon.
She liked the girl; she was polite, warm, and friendly. She treated all with respect, from the very wealthy client that came once a month for pampering and care, to the client that had scraped and scrimped and saved just enough to splurge on a new hairstyle that they’d never be able to get anywhere else.
Each client of Terry’s got a small ‘Miss Helena’s’ bag with sample cosmetics, hair treatments and one of Terry’s business cards. The other hair stylists were very choosy about whom they would give these bags to.
Terry always dressed in skirts and dresses, never in slacks or jeans, and always in four or five inch heels, never in tennis shoes or flip-flops. Miss Helena was a stickler for looking professional; she’d often sent a girl home to change into more appropriate clothing. Terry exceeded those expectations.
Miss Helena peered over Terry’s shoulder as Terry worked on Mrs. Schaub. Mrs. Schaub was from one of the wealthiest of families, had been living in the exclusive South Side of Baylor Lake for all of her life, and was rarely civil with anyone; others were beneath her, in her humble opinion.
“There you go, Mrs. Schaub,” Terry said, giving a final tousle to the old woman’s hair. “Is that to your satisfaction or is there anything else I can do?”
“No, no, I suppose that will do,” Mrs. Schaub sniffed, lip curled in a sneer.
“Ma’am, what else can I do?” Terry asked, resting a hand on the old woman’s shoulder. “I really would like for you to be satisfied with my work.”
“No, no, it’s fine,” the woman said and indicated the sheet that covered her.
Terry removed the sheet, making sure to not let any errant hairs fall onto Mrs. Schaub’s dress or shoes.
“Do you um, do you do children’s hair, Ms. Dayton?” Mrs. Schaub asked, getting to her feet. “It’s almost time for my granddaughter to get her first hair-cut; I’d like to bring her in for you to cut it.”
“Oh how wonderful!” Terry said. “I’d be delighted! Just make the appointment with Heather, all right?” “Merry Christmas.”
Miss Helena backed away and listened as Mrs. Schaub made an appointment for the two year old grandchild.
“And please add a twenty five dollar tip for Ms. Dayton,” Mrs. Schaub ordered Heather as the girl ran Mrs. Schaub’s credit card.
“Excuse me?” Heather squeaked.
Miss Helena smirked; she’d never heard Mrs. Schaub ever give anyone a tip, believing that the girl should be thrilled with the opportunity to serve her.
Terry finished cleaning her station and looked; she had another twenty five minutes until her next appointment.
She wished she had not quit smoking three years ago; she had nothing to occupy her hands, her mind for the next twenty five minutes.
But she forced herself to walk around the salon, checking to see if anyone else needed any assistance.
Terry returned to her station and looked again at the clock. She now had twenty one minutes until her next appointment.
Miss Helena smiled at her and Terry returned the smile, even though she didn’t really feel like smiling.
She missed Paula, missed just being with her.
It wasn’t the sex; she had her two vibrators for that. She missed curling up with Paula on the couch while they watched TV, even though Paula had extremely boring taste in television. Paula liked old movies, or Fox Business or Fox News.
Terry missed dancing; Paula would put on some soft music, take Terry in her arms, and dance her around the living room; Paula leading.
She missed going to the Dead End just because Paula was going into Wings withdrawal.
She missed Paula laying her head on her chest and falling asleep like that.
Her apartment was a nice one; just off Highway 27 in Baylor Lake. The furniture had come from Acclaimed Furniture Outlet, a small store in Lafayette, Louisiana. She had carefully looked at each piece, ignoring the very aggressive salesman, asking herself ‘is this something Paula would have in her apartment?’
Her car had come from ‘The Church of The Used Car And Salvation;’ it was a small, non-descript Kia. Just like the furniture salesman, the Reverend Smith had been counting on his profit to come from the financing. His face had actually flushed with anger when Terry wrote out a check for the full amount.
Paula had protested when Terry refused to keep the Escalade.
“But I bought that for you!” Paula sobbed.
“I’m sorry, Paula, but I can’t keep it,” Terry had said, fighting her own tears. “Every time I got into it; I’d think about you.”
“But I want you to think about me,” Paula sobbed, clinging onto Terry.
“Believe me; I will, each and every minute of each and every day,” Terry whispered into Paula’s ear, losing the fight against her tears.
Moving out of the condominium and into her own place had been a real eye opener for Terry; she had no idea where to go to get the electricity turned on. She had no idea how to switch her cell casino oyna phone plan ; Paula wanted to continue to pay, but Terry refused.
Thankfully, she had Marlene and Charlene helping her. The twins had pulled a few ‘midnight moves’ when they were about to be evicted from one apartment, moving into another one to start their ninety day cycle all over again. They would put down the deposit and the first month’s rent, then would not pay the second or third months rent and spend several weeks avoiding the landlord.
“Don’t y’all ever get tired of that?” Terry asked; they were on their third apartment in the short time she’d known them.
Marlene simply shrugged.
Terry looked at the clock again and wondered what Paula was doing.
Terry smiled when Heather told her of the tip Mrs. Schaub had given her. Then she looked at the clock again. Seventeen minutes until her appointment.
She hoped Paula was happy with Sonny.
She hoped Sonny was making Paula happy. Paula needed to be hugged often, needed to be kissed often, needed to have her long strawberry blonde hair brushed often.
Paula was an extremely intelligent and extremely driven woman, but Paula needed light touches, soft words to validate her worth.
Terry hoped Sonny was validating Paula.
“Hope you don’t mind; I’m a few minutes early,” the young girl asked.
“Not at all,” Terry smiled brightly.
She ignored the faded bargain brand jeans, the cheap flip-flops and the ill fitting top the young woman wore.
“Let’s see; you’ve got good hair, would probably benefit from a hot oil treatment, nice color, a few highlights would really ‘wake’ that hair up,” Terry said, running her hands over the girl’s head.
She swiveled the girl around and looked into the girl’s nervous eyes.
“But, why don’t you tell me what you want; why are you here today?” Terry asked.
“I’m in that stupid Christmas play; I’m the Virgin Mary and my momma said I need to get my hair done,” the girl admitted.
“The play at Baylor Lake High School?” Terry asked.
“Yeah, the one those ass holes are protesting,” the girl admitted. “They’re all ‘this play is trying to force religious views down the throats of our children’ and stupid shit like that; I mean, where do they think the name ‘Christmas’ comes from?”
“Don’t have to tell me,” Terry smiled. “I mean, I’m not super religious, but even I understand what Christmas is all about.”
“And it’s not like we’re making people go see it,” the girl continued.
Terry started heating the oil for the hot oil treatment.
“Um, hey, um, how much this going to cost?” the girl whispered, embarrassed.
“One forty,” Terry said. “Um, when you made the appointment, they didn’t tell you that?”
“Yeah, just making sure,” the girl said. “But when you started talking about hot oil treatments and highlights and stuff…”
“Ma’am,” Terry said, looking into the girl’s eyes. “My clients receive the very best I can give them; it’s what they are paying for.”
Heather waved Terry away from the client.
“Terry,” Heather whispered. “You know that hot oil treatment’s thirty dollars extra.
“She’s an eighteen year old girl ,” Terry whispered back. “Believe me, she’ll remember this day for the rest of her life; she’ll tell all of her friends all about it, and every time she has a few extra bucks, she’ll be in here. Take the hot oil out of my account.”
“Just making sure,” Heather said, resting a friendly hand on Terry’s arm.
Terry flinched when Heather touched her. Paula used to touch her like that, resting a loving hand on her as she made a point. Or just touching her to be touching her.
“Ma’am?” Heather asked the girl. “Would you like a coffee? Water? Maybe a coke?”
“I um,” the girl stammered.
“Ma’am, it’s on the house,” Heather assured the girl.
“Coffee, please,” the girl said, trying to act grown-up.
“Sugar and cream?” Heather asked as Terry began to apply the oil to the girl’s long brown hair.
“Yes ma’am,” the girl said.
Heather smiled and added an extra teaspoon of sugar to the coffee.
“Perfect, the girl said after taking a sip of the too sweet beverage.
Heather did pull up Terry’s account and began to charge the thirty dollar hot oil and the forty dollar blonde highlight treatment against Terry’s pay schedule.
“No ma’am,” Miss Helena said, hand on Heather’s shoulder.
She leaned close to Heather.
“I heard what she said and she’s right,” Miss Helena said. “That girl’s going to remember this day forever. Reverse the charges out.”
“Yes ma’am, Miss Helena,” Heather said.
“You’re Miss Helena?” the girl asked, looking over her shoulder as Terry massaged the oil into her scalp.
“Yes ma’am,” Miss Helena smiled at the girl.
“I just want you to know, you’ve got the best staff ever,” the girl beamed.
“Well, thank you so much,” Miss Helena said, fighting down her laughter.
Of course she had the best staff; Miss Helena would only hire the very best to work for her. And even canlı casino as her newest employee, Terry Dayton was quickly becoming the top stylist in the shop. Her genuine soft and gentle nature however kept the other stylists from exploding in jealous rages, which they were prone to do with one another.
“Now, are you satisfied with this,” Terry asked an hour and a half later swiveling the girl around to look at herself in the mirror. “Or is there anything else I can do?”
“Oh my God!” the girl gasped as she looked at herself in the mirror.
“Ma’am?” Terry asked as the girl stared at herself.
“I’m going to be the hottest fucking Virgin Mary ever!” the girl declared.
“Well, that goes without saying,” Miss Helena smiled. “But are you satisfied with Miss Dayton’s work here?”
“Yes ma’am,” the girl agreed.
“Should have done a ‘before and after’ picture of her,” Heather said as the girl left the salon, clutching her ‘goodies’ bag tightly.
“Excellent work, Miss Dayton; but then again, I do expect that of you,” Miss Helena said.
“Thank you, Miss Helena,” Terry smiled and looked again to see when her next appointment was due.
She wished again that she had not quit smoking. Terry hated the taste of cigarettes, the smell, especially the smell it left on her hands and in her mouth, but she wanted something to do.
“Miss Dayton?” Terry heard a girl squeak and looked up.
Her client stood in front of her, goodies bag still clutched tightly to her chest.
“Yes, something wrong?” Terry asked, ready to assist the young woman with her coat.
“No, no ma’am,” the girl smiled widely. “No, I um, I just wanted to give you these.”
She held out two tickets for the school play.
“Oh, well thank you so much!” Terry said, accepting the gift.
“I got you two of them; bring your boyfriend,” the girl jiggled happily.
“Again, thank you so much,” Terry said and the girl ran back out of the salon.
“Aw!” Heather said. “That was so sweet!”
Terry’s appointment came in, shrugging out of her expensive leather coat. Rather than wait for Heather to escort the woman, Terry went to greet her client.
Terry decided to take Heather with her to the play; she’d received an invitation to Paula’s Engagement Party and just did not want to be alone. She also did not want to disappoint her young client by not showing up.
Heather obviously thought it was a date; she rested her head on Terry’s shoulder, clutched Terry’s arm in hers.
Bethany, the young client, had obviously rehearsed and rehearsed well; she did not miss a cue, executed her lines flawlessly, and even had tears come to Terry’s eyes when she spoke of carrying the Lord with the humility of a servant.
Terry did not want to, but Heather cajoled her into going backstage to tell Bethany how much they’d enjoyed the play.
“Ah!” Bethany gasped, delighted to see Terry. “Polly! Jada! Come see! This is her! This is the woman done my hair!”
Suddenly Terry had a horde of teenage girls around her, clamoring for their chance to be her client.
“Girls, girls; it is not cheap,” Terry cautioned them as she handed out her business cards to the girls.
“You, um, you do guy too?” the young man that had played Joseph asked.
“Yeah, but I charge extra to do beards,” Terry teased, handing him a business card.
“Oh, no, no ma’am, it comes off. See?” the boy answered, showing Terry how it was stuck to his face with double sided tape.
Terry was glad she brought extra cards in her purse; she handed out nineteen of them before she and Heather left the high school auditorium.
“So, what you want to do now?” Heather asked, huddled against Terry to stay out of the harsh wind that blew in from the Gulf of Mexico.
“Go home,” Terry admitted. “Take these shoes off, sit back with a glass of wine…”
“Okay!” Heather readily agreed.
Terry stopped and looked at Heather. Heather stood on her tiptoes (she was five inches shorter than Terry, and much shorter than that as Terry had on five inch heels) and gave Terry a soft kiss on her lips.
Terry fought against the tears; the four foot eleven inch Heather, with her slender body and short blonde bob was not Paula and could not hope to replace Paula.
There was no love, at least not on Terry’s part. Heather was just a warm body that was accessible.
“You need to let your mom know you’re going to be late?” Terry asked as she poured two glasses of wine.
“I um, I told her I probably wouldn’t be back tonight,” Heather confessed.
Terry did not catch the implications, did not catch that Heather had already planned on having sex with Terry that night.
“Love your place,” Heather said, looking around.
“Thanks,” Terry said, handing her one of the glasses of white wine.
Terry put the tray of crackers, fresh fruit, and cheese wedges onto the small coffee table, took a seat on the small couch, and took off her pumps.
“Oh, that is so much better,” Terry sighed, wiggling her toes.
“Here, let me,” Heather kaçak casino offered and sat on the floor.
She took one of Terry’s feet and began to rub the foot slowly, sensuously.
“That is good,” Terry groaned.
“How about…” Heather asked and sucked Terry’s big toe into her mouth.
“That tickles,” Terry giggled.
Heather took her wine glass, took a mouthful of wine, then again sucked on Terry’s toe.
“T. Dayton,” Selena intoned as she answered the telephone.
She said ‘Dayton’ with a French twist; ‘day TAWn,’ with the ‘n’ being nearly silent.
“Yes ma’am, Miss Dayton does have an availability for two o’clock next Thursday, the eighteenth; is that satisfactory?” Selena asked.
She listened for a moment.
“Well, ma’am, I can add your name to the ‘Cancellations’ list; if we have a cancellation we’ll call,” Selena offered.
“Very good, Mrs. Richards, thank you,” Siena said and pressed the button, ending the call.
Terry pressed a button on the wall of her cubicle. Salinas the light on her computer screen and nodded. The young woman got to her feet and approached Mrs. Schaub.
“Mrs. Schaub? Miss Dayton is ready for you now,” Selena said.
“It’s about time,” Mrs. Schaub grumbled, even though Terry was actually fifteen minutes early for the woman’s standing Second Tuesday of the month eleven o’clock appointment.
Mrs. Schaub did not pay any attention to the seven other stations in the long room, did not pause to admire the soft muted pastel colors, did not acknowledge the seven other hair stylists, all dressed in pink and white knee length dresses and white lab jackets.
“Mrs. Schaub,” Terry greeted the woman, grasping both of her wrinkled hands and giving her an air kiss on each cheek.
“I don’t know why you had to move so far away,” Mrs. Schaub again voiced her disapproval.
“I was pretty limited in finding a building large enough to accommodate my business, with ample parking for my clients,” Terry again explained why she’d moved into the Baggett Building.
“This used to be that old mattress factory?” Mrs. Schaub asked again, now taking the time to look around.
“Yes ma’am; pretty smart of them, how they set it up,” Terry said, easing the difficult woman back so that she could wash the woman’s hair.
“I bet Miss Helena was sorry to see you go,” Mrs. Schaub said, offering her version of a compliment.
Actually, Miss Helena had threatened a lawsuit against Terry.
“You signed the ‘Non-Competition’ clause!” Miss Helena shrieked when Terry turned in her two week’s notice. “Five years! It says you can’t do no hair for five years!”
(In times of stress, Mona Rubenstein, a.k.a. Miss Helena let her Brooklyn Jewish upbringing slip out.)
“Actually, Miss Helena,” Terry smiled sweetly. “I never did sign it. Remember? I said I wanted my lawyer, Sophia Coutre look at it? She advised that I not sign it, so I didn’t.”
Miss Helena let loose with a string of profanities and Yiddish that shocked many of her clients and actually caused two to cancel their appointments and leave the facility.
“But I promise, Miss Helena, as much as I do want to, I will not take any of your staff with me,” Terry offered.
“Like they’d ever leave to work for an ungrateful little bitch like you,” Miss Helena
Heather made her decision; as much as she was sure that she was in love with Terry, she’d seen three other employees leave Miss Helena’s, only to return a few weeks later, begging to be rehired. Laughed.
Terry was actually relieved; she knew she did not love Heather and some of the things Heather did or wanted to do sickened Terry.
Terry finished rinsing the conditioner from the woman’s hair, used her hands to squeeze the excess water, than grabbed a warmed pink and white towel and gently blotted the woman’s hair.
She assisted the woman up, then walked her to her chair.
“Actually, Mrs. Schaub,” Terry said, picking up her comb. “I did very much appreciate my time with Miss Helena’s; she’s a great woman to work for, and I met several great people there. I don’t know if she was sorry to see me go, but I do know I was sorry to go.”
Mrs. Schaub sniffed; she had expected nothing less than Terry’s diplomatic and professional response. Miss Helena had not been as professional and had tried to foist Mrs. Schaub onto another stylist. It had been Heather that had given Mrs. Schaub the telephone number for T. Dayton.
(And if Miss Helena had witnessed Heather’s act of disloyalty, Heather would have been discharged immediately.)
“Oh, my daughter said she’s bringing Maggie in; I swear, that child won’t get her hair done by anyone but you,” Mrs. Schaub complimented as Terry applied the final spritz of hairspray.
“I know; she’s such a sweetie, too,” Terry praised.
Before pressing her ‘available’ button, Terry walked around to check on the other stylists and their clients.
Terry had to smile a sad smile; her few months as Paula’s Personal Assistant had truly taught her a great deal. She benefited from Paula’s four years of undergraduate and two years of graduate work. Her first stop had been to Sophia Coutre, to present her plan. Three hours later, she staggered from the woman’s office, head reeling.
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